Italy rolls out first human trial of Covid-19 vaccine

The first clinical trial of an Italian-developed Covid-19 vaccine started at Spallanzani hospital, in the capital city on Monday, August 24, as the country faces a constant surge in new coronavirus cases.

The vaccine is just one of the nine candidates being developed and tested worldwide in a continued effort to shield the global population from the outbreak.

 

According to reports, 9 potential vaccines, including one produced by a UK-Italian joint venture, are now in different stages of development.

 

“I am very satisfied and proud of this," Francesco Vaia, Spallanzani’s health director, told local media. "If all goes well and we finish this trial within this year, we could have the vaccine ready by next spring on a commercial basis."

 

The first of 90 volunteers to undergo the trial test was a 50-year-old woman, who will be monitored for 12 weeks to check if the vaccine causes any side effects, and if it produces antibodies. Over 5,000 people applied for the trial, but researchers selected only those who were in perfect health conditions.

“I believe in Italian science. I hope that my choice will be useful and that people will be more responsible,” the woman – who requested to remain anonymous – told Italian media.

The development came on the same day Italy reported 1,210 more cases, bringing the total to 259,345. Seven more fatalities were confirmed, raising the death toll to 35,437, with a total of 505,470 people recovering, Health Ministry’s data showed.

According to local media reports, infections in Italy have been on the rise since the beginning of August, with experts blaming holiday goers returning from high-risk destinations and large gatherings of people enjoying the nightlife at the peak of the summer season.

However, on Sunday, Health Minister Roberto Speranza sought to reassure Italians, saying the country won’t require a new lockdown.

eashimwe@newtimesrwanda.com

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